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The Latest: The fall surge has begun

Dear Reader,

Health experts have long warned that the fall could bring another surge of Covid-19 cases as the school year kicks off and more time is spent indoors. There’s already clear evidence that this uptick is beginning. Data shows that in the United States, the Covid-19 case count has risen steadily in the past two weeks, from 24,257 on September 7 to 39,330 on September 22.

READ: Coming to Grips With the Fall Surge

As my Blog colleague Yasmin Tayag reports, the fall surge is upon us. Thankfully the U.S. now knows more about the virus and how to prevent infection. “Even though scientists had warned that this would happen, it’s understandable if this news feels alarming,” she writes. “But take comfort in knowing that scientists understood enough about the spread of the coronavirus that they could predict how it would behave in the fall. Understanding its spread means knowing how to prevent it.”

Make sure you get the flu shot, and keep up with the distancing and mask-wearing. Having a mild flu season this year will go a long way.

  • U.S. death count exceeds 200,000: There are over 6.8 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and over 31.6 million confirmed cases worldwide. So far over 200,800 Americans have died from Covid-19.
  • Johnson & Johnson begins phase 3 trial for its vaccine: The company’s vaccine trial is said to be the largest, with plans to enroll 60,000 people. Read more.
  • Taxpayer money meant for Covid-19 supplies went to defense supplies: The Washington Post reports that the $1 billion fund Congress gave the Pentagon in March to build up the country’s medical equipment supply has been mostly sent to defense contractors and used to make things like jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms. Read more.
  • An anonymous right-wing blogger and critic of Fauci…works for Fauci: The Daily Beast reports that a writer for the conservative website, RedState, William B. Crews — who writes critically about the U.S. Covid-19 response and has called Dr. Anthony Fauci a “mask nazi” — has a day job as a press officer at the National institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — the agency that Fauci leads. Crews is retiring.
  • CDC updates its Covid-19 transmission guidance, again: The Centers for Disease Control updated its guidance on Friday for coronavirus transmission to say that the virus can be transmitted via aerosols as well as larger droplets, but then walked it back again on Monday. Read more here.
  • Black physicians create panel to vet Covid-19 vaccine: Organized by the National Medical Association, a group of Black physicians have developed their own expert task force to independently vet federal regulators’ decisions about Covid-19 drugs and vaccines. Read more here.
  • Cases are rising in Europe: The World Health Organization warns that Covid-19 cases are surging alarmingly in Europe, and that it is a “very serious situation.” Read more.

Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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Why is the flu vaccine so important this year?
Everyone should get the flu shot this year, full stop. Why? As Robert Roy Britt reports, the last thing the U.S. needs this fall and winter is for people to start catching the flu and Covid-19 at the same time. Defenses might be down after getting one illness, and it can be difficult to untangle the symptoms from one another. Read more here.

Coming to Grips With the Fall Surge

What the Seatbelt Backlash Can Teach Us About Masking

Making Sense of the CDC’s Coronavirus Transmission Confusion

Who’s Most At Risk in the Covid-19 Mental Health Crisis

The Latest on Covid-19 Vaccines

Second-Term Trump Will Care Even Less About Covid-19

The Importance of Coronavirus Autopsies

It’s Time to Schedule Your Routine Cancer Screening

The Covid-19 Symptoms No One Talks About

Charting the Pandemic Over the Next 12 Months (STAT)

Covid Grows Less Deadly as Doctors Gain Practice, Drugs Improve (Bloomberg)

The Core Lesson of the Covid-19 Heart Debate (The Atlantic)



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Alexandra Sifferlin

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that